Aurelio de la Vega

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North/South Recordings Compact Disc, N/S R 1045:

"Music by Composers from Cuba and the US"
The North/South Chamber Orchestra Max Lifchitz, conductor

Score: The Magic Labyrinth   Aurelio de la Vega
    12. Variación del recuerdo (7:58 min.)
Harold Schiffman
    1-3. Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra
    (2004) (12:46 min.)
José Lezcano
    4-6. Guitar Concerto (15:06 min.)
Allan Crossman
    7. Flyer (11:17 min.)
Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn
    8-11. Soundscapes (7:44 min.)

  Total time 54:59 min.

Program cover: "Score: Magic Labyrinth"
by Aurelio de la Vega


Aurelio de la Vega's RECORDATIO ("Recollection") a commissioned work for Soprano, Wind Quintet and String Quintet; performed by Anne Marie Ketchum, soprano, and The North/South Consonance Ensemble, Max Lifchitz, conductor, Sunday, February 19, 2012, Christ and Saint Stephen's Church, 120 West 69th Street, New York City

1 minute sound clip: Recuerdos.WMA


New Musicians Showcase Recordings Compact Disc, MS 1088:

"The Piano Works of AURELIO DE LA VEGA"
with performances by Martha Marchena:

The Precarious Balance of Human Endeavors     1. Preludio No. 1 (1944) ..................
  2. Preludio No. 2 (1944) ..................
  3. Preludio No. 3 (1944) ..................
  4. Rondó (1948) ...........................
  5. Danza Lenta (1956) .....................
  6. Toccata (1957) ........................
  7. Minué (1957) ...........................
  8. Antinomies (1967) .....................
  9. Homenagem
      ("In Memoriam Heitor Villa-Lobos")
      (1985-86) ..................................
10. Epigrama (1953) .........................
                                         Total time:

Click here for the most recent and important review of this recording to date.

  3:19
  2:52
  2:47
  5:03
  2:31
  4:07
  1:36
  9:05



  5:48
  4:55
42:02

Sound Clips:

Preludio #2 (1944)

Rondó (1948)


California State University Newsroom (NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Oct. 30th, 2008)-- Cal State Northridge music professor emeritus Aurelio de la Vega has a single piece on the album, "Remembrances-Recuerdos," a compilation of music by composers from Cuba and the United States. But de la Vega's work stands out as its melodies tap into a wealth of emotions, triggering memories of a life gone by and that perhaps never was.

The piece, "Variación del Recuerdo (Variations of a Memory)," performed by the North/South Chamber Orchestra, caught the attention of his peers in the music industry and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

De la Vega, who retired from teaching at CSUN in 1993 after 34 years, called the nomination "very nice," particularly since it comes at the tail end of a career that spans more than 50 years and includes recognition and accolades from around the world, but never before by the Latin Recording Academy.

"Variación del Recuerdo" was originally commissioned by the Culver City Chamber Orchestra in 1999.

"It's kind of a nostalgic piece. When you get old, you get nostalgic," he said with a smile. "The piece has ambiance and flavors from Cuba, and it's a little sad. It recalls memories and times that have gone by or are not real any more."

De la Vega, an internationally recognized composer, was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1925. He served as a cultural attaché at the Cuban Consulate in Los Angeles, He also toured the United States as a lecturer from 1952 to 1954 before settling in Los Angeles. De la Vega joined the faculty of what was then San Fernando Valley State College, now California State University, Northridge, in 1959.


One may wish to peruse in detail two fine review-essays of the above CD, "The Piano Works of Aurelio de la Vega" performed by Martha Marchena. The first is "The Other Time: Reflections on the Piano Works of Aurelio de la Vega" by Enrico Mario Santí, University of Kentucky, Lexington, in "The New Centennial Review," Vol. 5, No. 2, fall 2005.

Santí begins by "waxing bold" that he "read de la Vega's piano works as a single piece, that is, as a large symphonic poem composed over a period of 60 years, a life's master work to say the least.... My claim is based on the comprehensive nature of the collection--ten works like the ten fingers called forth to play them--even though this CD includes far from the entirety of de la Vega's opus. But given that de la Vega's earliest works, included here, were in fact piano pieces, and that the collection was launched exactly 60 years after they were written, the idea of unity over time appears quite inescapable.... Yet another way of identifying the collection's inner unity would be to say that it constitutes a musical autobiography of sorts. I am referring to the implicit metaphorical identity, from the naive 1944 pieces to the major radical work of the 1980s."


The second is by Carl Byron of Los Angeles, California, from "Latin American Music Review," Vol. 26, No. 1: Spring/Summer 2005. "Charles Darwin once wrote, 'music was known and understood before words were spoken.' The naturalist's observation comes to mind when listening to Aurelio de la Vega's complete oeuvre for piano, recently recorded by Cuban pianist Martha Marchena.... His protean output encompasses a vast range of compelling orchestral, chamber, and vocal and electronic scores, yet it is through his ten piano works--composed between 1944 and 1987 and collected for the first time on this recording--that de la Vega has most often marked the shifts in his compositional career.

"De la Vega is a pianist himself and throughout these pieces he fully explores, in scores that are a model of instrumental lucidity, the piano's expressive and sonic range. Even the thorniest runs and most complex rhythms are notated expertly so that they are actually playable, although it takes a virtuoso of Marchena's stature to do them full justice.

"It would take another two decades for de la Vega's most recent piano work to emerge in the form of his extravagantly virtuosic Homenagem ("In Memoriam Heitor Villa-Lobos"), commissioned for the commemoration of the Brazilian composer's centennial in 1987. Abounding with a joyous joie de vivre, vigorous syncopations, percussive dissonance, and lush harmonizations, Homenagem is so far de la Vega's crowning achievement in the piano repertoire and is dispatched here with verve by Marchena.

"This recording is highly recommended for aficionados of piano literature as well as those who value an exceptionally insightful and compelling compositional voice such as de la Vega's."


Sound Clip:

Aurelio de la Vega: "Si ves un monte de espumas"   
from Canciones transparentes ("Transparent songs") On poems of José Martí

Anne Marie Ketchum, soprano
Amanda Walker, Bb clarinet
Sebastian Toettcher, cello
Wendy Prober, piano

from Songs and Romances - Viklarbo Chamber Ensemble.
clip properties: espumas.wma [1:06 min.][137 KB]

       Canciones transparentes ("Transparent songs") (1995)
             On poems of José Martí (1853-1895)
             for Soprano, clarinet, cello, piano

          I.   Si ves un monte de espumas ("If you see a hill of foam")
         II.   ¿Qué es el amor? ("What is love?)
        III.   Dos patrias ("Two motherlands")
         IV.   Sueño despierto ("I dream awake")
          V.   Cultivo una rosa blanca ("I cultivate a white rose")

Commissioned by Florida International University

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Sound Clip:

Aurelio de la Vega: "Si ves un monte de espumas"
   
from Canciones transparentes ("Transparent songs")
    On poems of José Martí
Anne Marie Ketchum, soprano
Amanda Walker, Bb clarinet
Sebastian Toettcher, cello
Wendy Prober, piano

from Songs and Romances - Viklarbo Chamber Ensemble.
clip properties: espumas.wma [1:06 min.][137 KB]

Commissioned by Florida International University

            Please see Upcoming Performances...                         Or Click here to return to home page.


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